Mexican Americans at greater risk for stroke than non-Hispanic whites

04/20/04

SAN FRANCISCO The first comparison study of stroke risk among Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites has shown that Mexican Americans experience a substantially greater incidence of stroke. Overall, depending on age, Mexican Americans had between 15 and 110 percent higher stroke risk compared with non-Hispanic whites. Study details and conclusions will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 56th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Calif., April 24 May 1, 2004.

More than one in eight people in the United States are of Hispanic origin, and Mexican Americans are the largest Hispanic sub-group. Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States. Stroke remains a very treatable and preventable condition.

Researchers from the University of Michigan Stroke Program, Ann Arbor, conducted a population-based study in Nueces County, Texas, an urban county with 313,645 residents. The vast majority (95 percent) of the county's residents live in Corpus Christi. They selected Nueces County for its high concentration of Mexican Americans (56 percent), high quality of medical care, and because it is more than 150 miles from the nearest major city where a stroke victim might otherwise be treated for a cerebrovascular event.

From January 2000 through December 2002, all stroke cases in subjects age 45 and older were identified from in-hospital and out-of-hospital sources. Cases were validated by board certified neurologists. Cerebrovascular disease incidence and risk ratio estimates comparing stroke in Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites were calculated.

During the study period, 2,350 cerebrovascular events occurred, 54 percent of which were in Mexican Americans. The crude annual total cerebrovascular event rate was 64 per 10,000 in Mexican Americans and 50 per 10,000 in non Hispanic whites.

"We were not surprised to find that Mexican Americans experience a substantially greater ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage burden compared with non-Hispanic whites," notes study author Lewis Morgenstern, MD, Director of the University of Michigan Stroke Program. "Implications of these findings are critical in terms of targeting this population for stroke prevention and acute stroke treatment, especially as the U.S. Mexican American population grows and ages."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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